Former Jobs for Maine’s Graduates teacher charged with furnishing marijuana to students sentenced

Posted July 01, 2014, at 12:27 p.m.
Last modified July 01, 2014, at 1:46 p.m.
Sarah Lawler-Stoddard
Waldo County Jail
Sarah Lawler-Stoddard

BELFAST, Maine — An ex-Jobs for Maine’s Graduates teacher who was charged last year with furnishing drugs to her students has been sentenced in connection with the incident.

Because Sarah Lawler-Stoddard, 33, of Belfast successfully completed a deferred disposition sentence, the felony charges of aggravated furnishing of drugs were dismissed last Thursday in Waldo County Superior Court. In the end, she pleaded guilty to two Class D misdemeanor charges of unlawful furnishing of marijuana, and was fined $2,000 in total.

Lawler-Stoddard was arrested in February 2013 after police investigated complaints from parents who believed she was smoking marijuana with her students. She was fired from her job with the nonprofit Jobs for Maine’s Graduates organization after a parent called to express concerns about her. Lawler-Stoddard had been working at Belfast Area High School, serving as a mentor and teacher to help students focus on career development, job attainment, time management and other goals.

At the time of the police investigation, some students told School Resource Officer Greg Stearns of the Belfast Police Department that other students were bragging about “partying” with Lawler-Stoddard. Other students admitted that they had actually smoked marijuana with her on numerous occasions, according to the police affidavit filed in support of her arrest.

A few weeks after her arrest on the charges of aggravated furnishing of marijuana, the teacher got into trouble again after she was found in a Belfast hotel room with several young people who were between the ages of 18 and 21. Police found marijuana paraphernalia and several bottles of alcohol in the hotel room.

As part of the former teacher’s deferred disposition, she had to refrain from all criminal conduct, not use or possess alcohol or illegal drugs, except the possession of alcohol in the course of her employment, and be subject to random searching and testing, according to Waldo County Assistant District Attorney Katie Hollstrom. Lawler-Stoddard also had to undergo substance abuse and psychological counseling, abide by a contract with the Volunteers of America and have no contact with persons under 21, except in the course of her employment.

“It’s closed and done,” Hollstrom said, adding that Lawler-Stoddard does not have probation conditions after the termination of her criminal case.

The former teacher’s defense attorney, Lisa Whittier of Augusta, said in an email sent to the BDN Monday that her client went beyond the requirements of the deferred disposition agreement.

“[She] has her life completely back in order,” Whittier wrote. “She wishes nothing more than to put all of this behind her.”

 

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